Sew Lets QAL: Block 2 Mug

Hi! Welcome to Block 2 of the Sew Let’s Quilt Along!

Details of the quilt along are located on the Sew Lets QAL tab above, but here’s the short version: we’re presenting the blocks for this quilt along in segments. To win a prize, make all the blocks from that segment, then upload a photo of them all at the end of the segment.

This is Block 2 of Segment 1. There will be five blocks in this segment, released every two weeks. The last block in Segment 1 will be released on May 7th; the Segment will end on May 20th. To enter for the Segment 1 Prize, you’ll have to have all five blocks finished by then. The prize for Segment 1 will be announced on May 21st.

Block 2: Mug

This week’s block is a Mug. The designer of Block 2 is April @ JANDA Bend Quilts and you can download the pattern there.

I’m not making all the blocks, but I am hosting and providing tips. Here’s my version of April’s block from Electric Quilt.

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the Sewing Machine block.

Sew the Flip Corners carefully

This block uses a technique called Flip Corners to create the angles on the mug. With a flip corner, you draw a diagonal line, place the square on the corner of a larger piece RST, sew on the line, then flip the top piece back towards the corner, creating a right angle.

To sew flip corners correctly, take the time to carefully mark the diagonal line on the back of the flip corner squares. I use a regular pencil, a small ruler, and my sandboard to do that. A sandboard really helps to prevent the square from slipping so you can mark the diagonally correctly.

Then, instead of sewing right on the line you've drawn, sew just a bit to the right of it (closer to the corner) as you see here. Sewing the seam just a bit short of center makes a bit more room for the fold, so when you press the flip square back towards the corner it will fit perfectly.

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With flip corners, you typically trim the seam allowance after pressing the corner back.There are two schools of thought with this. If you don't trim, then you always have the bottom fabric (which is cut to size) to help you construct the block properly. If you do trim the seam allowance, you will have a lot less bulk in the seams. And you can always trim the finished unit to size (which I highly recommend if you do trim the seam allowance).

Add the text

This block includes a cute text message. You can add the text to fabric in a couple of ways:

  • You can embroider the text onto fabric, cut the fabric to size, and piece it into the block.

  • You can copy the text onto fabric using fabric pens, cut the fabric to size and piece it into the block.

  • You can print the text onto fabric, cut the fabric to size, and piece it into the block.

Regardless of which method you choose for adding text to your mug, you’ll need to start by printing out Page 6 of the instructions. Make sure you select to print at 100%.

After printing, measure the test block (the 1” square) to make sure you’ve printed the page correctly.

To embroider the text, use an outline or stem stitch. First, lay the printout on your table and place your fabric on top and trace the text with a marking tool. I use my sandboard to keep the fabric in place while I trace the text.

To keep the fabric from puckering too much from your embroidery, fuse a light weight fusible to the back. Then use the outline or stem stitch and three to six strands of floss to embroider the text.

If you want, you can simply copy the text onto the fabric using a fabric pen such as a Pigma pen. Again, use a sandboard to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t shift during the copy process.

To print the text onto fabric instead, you’ll need printer-prepared fabric and an ink jet printer. For step by step instructions on how to print on fabric, click here.

After printing, be sure to trim your fabric to 5-1/2” x 6-1/2” and piece it into the block.

After you’ve sewn your block together, trim it to 12-1/2”.

Thanks for the Tips! Where do I get the pattern?

Drop by April’s blog to download your free Mug block pattern. Hurry! The pattern is only available for free until September 21st.

Here are the hosts for Segment 1. Drop by their blogs for tips on making the block.

Abbie @ Sparkle On
April @ JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Sherry @ Powered by Quilting
Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts
Sandy @ SandyStar Designs
Sandra @ Sandra Healy Designs
Kathleen @ Kathleen McMusing

How Do I Enter the Giveaway?

First, you must be 18 years old to enter.

Now, unlike previous quilt alongs, this time you simply make the block. Then after the end of Segment 1, you need to post a photo of all blocks in that Segment to enter the giveaway. If you want to see the schedule for the quilt along and the list of block designers, click here.

When it’s time, you’ll post a single photo of all the blocks in Segment 1 to one of the following places to enter the Segment giveaway:

  • On Instagram, with the hashtag #fallintoaqal

  • In our private Facebook group

  • To the linky on any of the host’s blogs

Remember, you don’t have to get the blocks done until it’s time to post a photo of all the blocks in Segment 1 and enter our Segment Prize giveaway. Personally though, I’d make the blocks when they come out so you don’t fall behind.

Here’s what you might win for making all the blocks in Segment 1:

Thanks for stopping by! The next block will be released April 9th.

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Tell me…how are you planning on adding text to your block?

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My Faves: Wool Pressing Mat

Top of my Christmas wish list was a wool pressing mat. I hesitated however because I just wasn’t sure if I needed one. The price for wool isn’t cheap and I wanted to make sure this mat delivered the goods.

Well, we got them in the shop and one was placed in a classroom so I tried it out. Here is my Sewing Machine block before pressing on the wool mat.

And here is my block after.

Notice how it smoothed out all those gathers around the embroidery? Look how nice and flat it is now! And that’s without using any starch. Pretty impressive.

Always in Stitches (the quilt store where I work) has wool pressing mats in two sizes—8” and 17” square. They are expensive and it’s tempting to get the less expensive one but I decided if I got one it should be large enough to press an entire block so I got the 17” instead.

Online, some have reported that wool pressing mats smell but mine doesn’t. I mean I can smell wool like a wool sweater but it’s not overpowering or even noticeable after a few minutes. I’d stay away from the real cheap ones though because maybe they smell because the wool isn’t that clean.

The mat is firm (I love a firm ironing surface, don’t you?) and holds my block in place so I can get a good pressing. In addition, it holds heat like crazy so I’m really pressing my block from both sides at once. So cool!

If you get a wool pressing mat of your own, here are a few tips for using it:

  • Keep it clean. I would not spray starch on a block while it’s on the wool mat, because the wool fibers will absorb the starch. So I spray on my ironing board, then move the block to the mat.

  • Rinse in cool water If you have dirtied your wool mat, rinse it in cool water and hang it to let it air dry.

  • Watch out below First, do not put the wool pressing mat on your cutting mat. If you use steam, the steam will travel through the wool fibers and wet whatever’s underneath, so it’ll soak your cutting mat. Even if you don’t use steam, the heat may travel through the fibers and warp the cutting mat (you also know not to leave your cutting mat in your car on a hot day, don’t you?) My mat is 1/2” thick and the density seems to keep most of the heat from traveling through but still, I don’t want any heat on my cutting mat so I’m not going to use it there.

    I planned to use the pressing mat on my ironing board because that seems the most convenient place, but it’s bigger than my ironing board and I don’t want it to warp so I’m using on a nearby table. I don’t use steam in my iron and instead simply squirt the block with my mister before ironing, but if I use steam I suppose I’ll put a towel under the mat to absorb the water and protect my table from getting soaked.

  • Block it out It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize you can pin your block to the mat to square it up if needed. Or any kind of fiber work, such as embroidery. How cool is that?

If you want to share the news about felted wool pressing mats, please pin the image below to Pinterest or share it on Instagram with my hashtag: #inquiringquilter.

Wool Pressing Mat review.jpg

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Tell me…have you invested in a wool pressing mat?

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

Wednesday Wait Loss 111

Welcome to Wednesday Wait Loss. Please share what you’ve been working on!

First let me tell you what I've been up to

On Saturday, I celebrated National Quilting Day and Worldwide Quilting Day by sewing, working on patterns, and basically quilting! I also released a new pattern, True Patriot.

True Patriot is a free pattern. Learn more by clicking here.

Yesterday, I updated you on my progress on two Island Batik Ambassador challenges. To see what I’ve accomplished, click here.

Well, that was my week!

Now let's see who made this week's feature

Last week, I held a giveaway featuring green quilts. Here are some of my favorites.

First up is Chris @ Chris Knits Sews who linked up this adorable Whirly Green table runner.

Next is Lisa Marie who linked up three awesome quilts from Flickr. Click the photo to visit her on Flickr and leave a comment.

Next up is Susie who uploaded this photo from her computer. Aren’t those little kitties cute?

Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing linked up her block from the Sew Let’s QAL (don’t know about it yet? It just started so you can catch up easily! Click here to learn where to get this first block.) Love that green sewing machine!

Kathleen also linked up her answer to a color challenge. March was green!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting linked up a St. Patrick’s mug rug (too cute!) and a quick scrappy quilt from Instagram. Click the links to visit her on Instagram and leave a comment.

Besides all the lovely green quilts, two other link ups caught my eye.

First, Becca @ Pretty Piney linked up her March Island Batik challenge quilt. You just have to visit her to see more and to read the story of what inspired this creation. Great story!

Finally, I’d like to introduce you to Gene @ Creative Soul, who is new to our little group. Please welcome him to Wednesday Wait Loss!

Gene is a fellow Island Batik Ambassador, and he linked up his March challenge quilt, inspired by two classic quilt blocks. Can you guess which ones?

Congratulations ladies and gentleman! Here's an I Was Featured badge for your blogs or to simply print out and wear with pride! Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wednesday Wait Loss Featured

I’m not sure how to link up

Need help? Click the Wednesday Wait Loss tab above to get step by step instructions on what to do. You can link up a blog post, a photo from Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook, or a photo direct from your cell phone provided it is low resolution.

Time to link up!

Now it’s your turn to link up your works in progress and recently completed quilts! Here are some quick reminders about the linky party:

  • By linking up, you give me permission to grab a photo or two to share here on Wednesday Wait Loss.

  • This linky is all about encouragement, so please visit a few of the links and leave a comment.

  • If you’re uploading a photo from your phone/computer, leave a comment below that explains your project. And for the rest of us, please reply to a few of these comments leaving words of encouragement for a quick finish.

  • Please link back to my post somewhere in your blog post or use @inquiringquilter and #wedwaitloss to tag me in your Instagram/Flickr post.

  • If you link a photo from Facebook, please mention @InquiringQuilter and my Wednesday Wait Loss.

I appreciate you!

As you know, I use InLinkz to run my weekly Wednesday Wait Loss linky party. To link up, you’ll need to sign in using Facebook or Google+ or create a username/password for InLinkz.

I’d really hate to lose you over this change because we have such a great weekly group! If needed, you can send me your images via email and I’ll add them manually.

Important note!

If you would like to link up a photo from your phone or computer, you need to enter an URL or InLinkz will not let you proceed. Use this URL

Who Won the Giveaway???

Last week we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a giveaway of a green scrap bundle of fabrics. For every green quilt project you linked up you got two chances to win; for other linkups, one chance.

I assigned one or two numbers to every entry—if a quilt had green as a predominant color, it counted as two chances. Then I let choose the winner.

And the winner is…

Nancy B @ Grace and Peace Quilting! Congratulations! Email me your postal address and I’ll get your prize right out to you.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Linking to several fun quilty linky parties.

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What's Up - March Progress on My Island Batik Challenges

Unfortunately, I fell behind on my January Island Batik challenge after my sister fell ill and never finished it in time for the blog hop. The last time you saw that project, it looked like this.

I’d sewn together the background, created all the parrots, and made templates for the leaves I was using to create a jungle effect.

The quilt uses fabrics from the Fortune Teller collection by Island Batik and I was inspired by them to create a nighttime jungle scene with brightly colored parrots.

Since you last saw the quilt, I have started fusing and edge-stitching all the shapes. First, I fused down the branches and edge-stitched them. Then I fused each parrot down onto the background and edge-stitched it. This takes a long time because there are so many colors and I have to keep changing threads.

I haven’t finished with all the parrots yet, but I have stitched down some of the leaves. It’s a jungle out there! <grin>

I’ve also made progress on my March Island Batik challenge. I’ve finalized the design and chosen the fabrics. Today I’ll start cutting and sewing the blocks together.

This collection is called Twilight Chic. Twilight Chic is in stores now. I really love these colors!

I’ll leave you now with these tantalizing works in progress. <grin> Be sure to follow me if you’d like to see the end results! You’ll find ways to follow at the top of my sidebar.

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Tell me…do you use batiks in your quilts? what do you make with them?

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!